May 2015



Renew your membership now. Click here to renew your membership. Click on the "RENEW.." link, then log in when the system requests it.

Pre-register for convention and make those hotel reservations now!  Click here to pre-register (after you've renewed your membership)

Your Help Requested

We need your immediate help in identifying deceased orchestra directors who have passed away since last summer.  We must have names by June 3rd in order to include a formal recognition of them in the TODA Convention Program and to recognize these individuals at our annual business meeting.  Please click on the link below and complete the form.  We appreciate your help.

 In Memoriam

From the President...
by Jason Thibodeaux

Convention Preview – Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26

Have you pre-registered for convention?  Registration for membership, convention, and housing for our 2015 TODA convention is already underway!  It is not too early to go online at and register for the convention July 23-26th.  Pre-registration saves you $20.  There are so many clinics this year that will be extremely beneficial to all of us!  Carrie Lane Gruselle will be presenting clinics on Making Each Moment a Musical Moment, Engaging Beginning String Students, Comprehensive Musicianship Through Performance, This Piece Rocks, A Score Scavenger Hunt, and a Reading Session from FJH Publishing. David Becker will lead the Egmont Score Study/Conducting Clinic, Fundamentals of Conducting, Conducting Masterclass, and A Continuing Education for Conductors Workshop. Kirt Mosier will present his Series of Rehearsal Labs and Motivational Techniques and Secrets for all Performance Ensembles, Ian Edlund is bringing the Scoop on Strings, Setting Up For Success, and his reading session from String Instrument Specialists.

The 2015 convention will include many sessions presented by our TODA membership as well!  In addition to the usual dynamic sessions, Matthew Porter will lead two reading sessions of recently added music to the PML. Ryan Ross and Clint Capshaw will present the clinic Gett HIPP In The Classroom and Deborah Perkins will lead a session Do You See What I See? The Perils of Podium ApparelGene Williams is discussing how to have a Successful Transition from Band to Orchestra Directing.  This year’s offerings will provide all of us with many opportunities to continue to grow and build on the strongest string programs in the nation.  This year’s convention also includes the Schubert Mass in G Sing-In, where the audience becomes the choir. All members of TODA, TCDA, and TBA are invited to participate in this concert. TODA and TBA will provide a small orchestra to accompany the chorus. You don’t want to miss this event!

Combine all of this with the Fiesta Welcome, BBQ, the Exhibit Hall, and the opportunity to visit with friends from across the state, and this convention is the best deal.  We look forward to seeing everyone in July. Register Now!

Reunite with other TODA members during the opening night Fiesta Welcome!  Held at the Menger Hotel on Thursday, July 23rd, you will not want to miss out on seeing old friends, meeting new members, and fantastic music!

Money Matters
by Sandra Vandertulip, VP/Treasurer


The 2015 TODA Convention and New Music Reading Clinic is upon us!

Where: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX
When: Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26, 2015

Featuring: Carrie Lane Gruselle, FJH Publishing, David Becker, Texas Tech String Faculty and Kirt Mosier, Wingert-Jones/JW Pepper

Convention Pre-registration and hotel housing is open.  Don't delay.  Reduced room rates are only good through June 24.

TODA members Convention pricing:

Active member

Pre-registration fee:  $80

On-site registration fee: $100

Retired member

Pre-registration fee:  $25

On-site registration fee: $25

Student member

On-site registration fee: $20

On-site registration fee: $20

Convention pre-registration  ends on July 1.

High School Student Day (included in Convention registrationDeadline is June 12, 2015

If you prefer to submit your convention registration and/or hotel reservations using paper forms, links to these downloadable forms are below.

Convention pre-registration form
High School Student Day - (included in the online registration process)
Hotel Reservation Form - Low rates guaranteed only through June 24, 2015
Map of hotel locations and rates

Veteran members!  Please encourage new and younger teachers to attend our convention!! Sometimes just an invitation is all it takes for someone to experience a new opportunity!

See you there!!!

TODA Board of Directors

President - Jason Thibodeaux, Northeast ISD
Past President - Pat Leaverton, Fort Worth ISD
VP/Treasurer - Sandra Vandertulip, Round Rock ISD
Secretary - Lamar Smith, Carrollton ISD
Member At Large - Christina Bires, Clear Creek ISD
Executive Director - Sharon Lutz

Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Miller

7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754

 Childcare information and Guidelines

Childcare is complimentary to our members during the convention for children 12 yrs and younger. This convenient, on-site service is provided by Fit For A King. They have over 20 years of experience and are bonded for your protection.  They are also trained in CPR and First Aid.

Thursday 10:00am - 10:00pm     Friday 7:30am - 10:00pm  Saturday 7:30am - 10:00pm    Sunday 8:00am - noon

Please read the suggestions below and come prepared to ensure a smooth process for you and your children.

  • Plan to take strollers with you, as there is no extra space in the childcare rooms to store them.
  • No meals are provided or served. Snacks of raisins, Cheerios, cookies and punch are served mid-morning and mid-afternoon. You can bring snacks for your own child, labeled and with instructions. Parents must pick up children for each meal and no other foods will be allowed in the room.
  • Please take children to the restroom prior to bringing them to childcare. Bring extra, labeled clothes for young children.
  • Allow sufficient time for registration and instructions. Have all instructions in writing. Label everything that comes with your child (bag, wipes, diapers [no cloth diapers], pacifiers, etc...)
  • Please list the sessions you will attend with room numbers so we can reach you if there is an emergency.
  • Age appropriate toys are provided. Please do not bring personal toys.
  • Ill children will not be admitted. Parents will be called to pick up children that hit, bite or are inconsolable for long periods.
  • Quiet times are from 1:15pm to 3:30pm and 8:30pm until closing. No children will be admitted during these times and all who are inside will rest quietly.  No exceptions. Children may be picked up any time.
  • Parents who do not pick up children by posted closing times will be charged $10 per each minute late per child.

Don't miss the TODA BBQ this year!  Join us at Sunset Station on Saturday, July 25th for fun with fellow members, great food, and our annual silent auction!

 From the Past President
    by Pat Leaverton

One of the largest and most important parts of our summer convention is the reading sessions!  In fact, when TODA was founded, the reading sessions were the primary activity, with presentations and exhibits being added in later years.  This summer we will again have multiple reading sessions.  Some are going to be led by our featured clinicians.  In these sessions, the clinician chooses the music to be performed.  For all the rest of the sessions, the TODA Board chooses the music during the June Board Meeting.

New music was requested from all the major publishers throughout the spring.  That music is then sorted out into level of difficulty and type (full, string, holiday, pop, etc.).  The board then goes through the hundreds of titles to choose the 12-20 that will be performed during each reading session.  Part of this quick evaluation is to choose music from all the publishers, a variety of composers, and of different styles and teaching objectives.  This short list of music is then sent to the guest conductors to write up their evaluations and is shared with the music vendors at the convention so they can have these titles at their booth.  The music not chosen is given away during the drawings at the end of each reading session.

We invite everyone to come to as many reading sessions as you can.  Thanks to the generosity of Antonio Strad & Williamson Music we will have instruments for everyone to use, although you are more than welcome to bring your own instrument as well!  If using a borrowed instrument please be careful to return it to the original case with the bow!  Practice what we tell the students and loosen those bows before returning to the case! 

One more piece of advice; while it is OK to perform on your secondary instrument during the grade 1 and grade 2 sessions, please stick to your primary instrument for the more difficult music. 

The reading sessions are a great way to start the process of planning your year’s literature.  I hope to see everyone this summer at the TODA Convention!

  The More, The Merrier
    by Lamar Smith, Secretary

A few years ago, I worked with a first-year teacher who was the assistant director at my school. Energetic and ready to learn, she wanted to get every possible experience available to her that would help her become a better teacher. When I mentioned something about attending TODA that summer, she said, “What’s that?” Knowing that this teacher had been raised in Texas and had attended a large state university in Texas, I was shocked that she had never even heard of TODA. When I explained the incredible professional development, helpful new music reading sessions, and opportunities for networking and socializing, she was all in!

For those of us that have been attending the TODA convention for years, it’s easy to assume that everyone knows about us and what we do. Our profession is growing by leaps and bounds, and to keep up with that growth, we have to do everything we can to continue to help our convention attendance and membership grow. If you work with first-year teachers, student teachers, or teachers who are new to Texas, be sure to encourage them to attend TODA and to complete registration by July 1. Let’s make the TODA party grow every year!